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minerality

minerality can be a charged term in wine culture.  as a flavor descriptor, some dismiss it and roll their eyes as they explain rocks don't have flavor, while others use it to describe mineral water tastes and wet rock smells.

more usefully, Clark Smith defines minerality as a tasteless and aromaless but lively sensation like a weak electrical current, often confused with acidity or tiny prickly carbonation.  he theorizes the sensation is the perception of electrons releasing from wines in a charged, or "reduced" state as they oxidize in your mouth.  it's nearly exclusive to wines grown in living soils, where grapevines exchange carbohydrates with mycorrhizal fungi for nutrients in the form of negatively charged mineral ions.  grapes reach their full minerality potential at peak physiological ripeness before they begin to lose it to field oxidation if left on the vine.  minerality is anti-oxidative, which is useful in low sulfur winemaking.

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